Real-time Environmental Monitoring from a Wind Farm Platform in the Texas Hypoxia Zone
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Ocean observing systems (005) are useful tools for assisting coastal managers with informed decision-making. OOS are designed to monitor environmental, oceanographic, and atmospheric parameters and can be installed on a variety of offshore platforms. In the summer of 2009, a multi-disciplinary real-time OOS, Galveston Instrument Garden for Environmental Monitoring (GIGEM), was deployed off the coast of Galveston, Texas (Location: 29°08'29.654''N, 094°44'51.339''W) to monitor coastal waters and provide data to investigate the processes controlling coastal Texas hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs in the Gulf of Mexico and refers to low dissolved oxygen concentrations in the bottom waters caused by a combination of environmental and physical parameters. Hypoxic events commonly occur along the Louisiana and Texas coasts however, little research has been conducted to investigate the processes responsible for Texas hypoxia formation. GIGEM was designed to help solve this problem by contributing real-time measurements to compare with historical coastal data series. Unlike traditional coastal OOS, GIGEM is installed on an experimental wind farm platform, operated by Wind Energy System Technologies Inc. (WEST). GIGEM is comprised of two components, the underwater mooring and bottom package, with all instrumentation connected by a unique, intricate design of seawater and surface inductive modems. GIGEM is also the only coastal OOS collecting real-time environmental water quality measurements on the Texas shelf. The work presented describes the obstacles and challenges with deploying GIGEM, the flow of information from the water column to the user, and future plans for constructing a comprehensive picture of Texas coastal hypoxia. Betails are also presented on how this type of OOS compares with additional OOS in the Gulf of Mexico and how the societal goals for protecting coastal ecosystems and improving coastal weather and ocean predictions implemented by the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) are fulfilled. ©2009 MTS.
author list (cited authors)
Mullins, R. L., DiMarco, S. F., Walpert, J., Jr, G., & IEEE, ..